Mexican Honeysuckle Care: How To Grow A Mexican Honeysuckle Bush
The Mexican holly bush (Hedera helix) is one of the most popular flowers in Mexico. They are used for making teas, incense, and other medicinal products. The plant grows in the mountains and valleys of Mexico and Guatemala.
It is considered a sacred flower because it brings good luck. The Mexican holly bush grows up to 25 feet tall and produces white flowers with pink centers. The leaves are dark green and the berries are small, red berries that taste like honey when eaten.
How To Grow A Mexican Honeysuckle Bush
Growing a Mexican holly bush requires lots of space and patience, but once established they produce large quantities of beautiful flowers year after year. The plants require plenty of light so they will grow well in full sun or partial shade. They need rich soil that drains well, which means they won’t thrive if the soil is sandy or compacted.
They prefer moist, fertile soil and do best in a location where there is some rainfall each year.
The Mexican holly bush needs very little care; however, it does need regular pruning to keep them from getting too big. The bushes have a natural pyramid shape and can be trained into a variety of different shapes. They can also be trained to cover an arbor or pergola.
They need to be pruned anytime the branches are more than 6 inches away from the main trunk. If you don’t keep them pruned, they will become very large and out of control.
These plants do require some special attention in order to produce the unique red berries. They need to be planted within 50 feet of a compatible pollinator. The two plants must be within sight of one another and the bees that fly between the two plants enable them to produce berries.
The berries have very tiny seeds that ripen all at once in the fall. Once you notice the first berries turning red, they should be harvested every other day for about two weeks in order to have enough for the following year.
Although they prefer their native soil, you can help them thrive in other types of soil and locations by adding some fertilizer. This will ensure that they get all the nutrients they need for healthy strong growth. They can also be protected from frost with a light covering or by planting them in a container that can be moved indoors when necessary.
The Mexican holly bush is incredibly easy to propagate. The easiest way is by rooting the tip cuttings. This can be done anytime the plant is growing vigorously.
All you need is a glass of water and a rooting hormone. Simply remove a 4-inch tip cutting, strip the bottom couple of leaves, dip it in the rooting hormone, and then insert it into the glass of water. Place it in a warm location and keep the water level high. Once roots start forming, it can be planted in soil. It can also be propagated from seed, but this takes longer.
Good places to look for seeds are in the produce section of your grocery store. The berries are used in making fruit cakes and other types of recipes. You can also collect the seeds from your own plants, or those of your friends and relatives.
Store them in paper towel in a cool place until ready to plant. They should be planted 1/4-inch deep once the danger of frost has passed.
The Mexican holly bush is a great addition to any landscape and produces lovely flowers and berries. They are fairly easy to grow and with a little care in choosing the soil and site, as well as providing fertilizer, they can thrive nearly anywhere.
Sources & references used in this article:
Plants for poolside landscapes by L Bradley – 1998 – repository.arizona.edu
Competitive effects of the invasive shrub, Lonicera maackii (Rupr.) Herder (Caprifoliaceae), on the growth and survival of native tree seedlings by DL Gorchov, DE Trisel – Plant Ecology, 2003 – Springer
A flora of North America: containing abridged descriptions of all the known-indigenous and naturalized plants growing North of Mexico: arranged according to … by J Torrey, A Gray – 1841 – books.google.com
Blooming Season and Pruning Recommendations of Some Common Shrubs for Low and Medium Elevations in Arizona by BRF Duster, PF Duster, F Cassia, G Cassia, S Cassia… – amwua.org
The Japanese honeysuckle in the eastern United States by EF Andrews – Torreya, 1919 – JSTOR
Element stewardship abstract for Lonicera japonica by V Nuzzo – The Nature Conservancy, Arlington, 1997 – invasive.org
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Pruning Shrubs in the Low and Mid-Elevation Deserts in Arizona by UK Schuch – 2016 – repository.arizona.edu